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Tbird analysis: Making the case for Mike Montgomery for next IU basketball coach

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  • Tbird analysis: Making the case for Mike Montgomery for next IU basketball coach

    Hello everyone, and thanks for reading this opinion piece on IU basketball.

    First of all, a little background:

    I live very near Assembly Hall, and have been a big IU fan practically my entire life. I went to school there, grew up watching their games on television and in person, and have always rooted for the Hoosiers. I met Coach Knight when I was 8 years old, and maintained a relationship with him all the way thru high school, college, and then later in my professional life. Thru other ways in my own coaching experiences I've got to meet alot of other famous coaches and celebrities, such as John Cheney, Lon Kruger, John Thompson, Dick Vitale, Jim Boeheim, and many others.

    What my own coaching background, knowledge of the IU scene and culture, and my own experiences as a fan all give me is a really clear idea of what IU basketball has been, what it is now, and what it needs in the future.

    IU should be looking at the following criteria when picking their next coach, in my opinion:

    1. Has he proven he can win big over time?
    2. Will he represent the university with class, dignity and honor?
    3. Can he unite the fanbase by running his program the way the culture of Indiana fans want and expect?
    4. Can he win clean, with a spotless reputation for honesty and high academic standards?
    5. Can he recruit the best players in the state, and some of the premier players in the country to come play here?
    6. Can he win and survive in difficult circumstances, since likely IU will be facing some early problems no matter who is hired?

    I understand the early clamoring for a young coach, I really do. I would not be disappointed at all if we hired a Brownell from Wright State, a Sean Miller from Xavier, or if the rumors tonight in Bloomington are true and we hire Tony Bennett from Washington State. All those guys have clear appeal and I could and would be happy with any of them.

    But, and this is a big but, there is a better candidate out there, one who would clearly be head and shoulders above the rest, due to his outstanding, impeccable reputation and resume. That man is the same man I wrote Rick Greenspan about the last time the job was open, and the same man I myself confirmed the last time would have been likely to take the job if offered. That man is ex Stanford Coach Mike Montgomery. Here are my reasons for proclaiming Monty as the very best candidate:

    1. Montgomery has the experience necessary to win big under difficult circumstances. Coaching at Montana and Stanford (an extremely prestigious academic school) he compiled a record of 547-244 record. He has been to the final four, and has been named the James Naismith National Collegiate coach of the year. He was the Pac-10 coach of the year 4 different times. He won the John Wooden lifetime achievement in coaching award, which states as its criteria high character, coaching philosophy, and high academic achievements by his players. He won 30 games or more 3 times, won 20 or more 10 straight seasons No candidate being talked about comes close to this proven success.

    2. Montgomery has the street credibility to recruit big time talent to IU with his NBA experience and ties. Coach Montgomery will be able to talk to kids with NBA aspirations with a credibility that others will not. He already put together a hall of fame worthy career at a school much harder to recruit at than IU.

    3. His coaching style is entertaining and fun to watch. I know winning is what the fan base really craves, but there are a big group of us (me included) who likes the idea of playing man defense with a motion offense. Montgomery can provide that eye pleasing, more uptempo team oriented style, than the other candidates being mentioned.

    4. He can put Bloomington on the map internationally, with his ties to USA basketball. Montgomery has been on the staff or in the background for USA/Olympic basketball for many years, his high profile can bring some of that to Bloomington and to IU. His abilty to recruit internationally will also be a big help to IU, as the Hoosiers will have to try some unconventional methods early to make up for expected recruiting sanctions.

    5. Not to be overlooked at IU, Montgomery financially will require no buy out. For an institution still paying big bucks to coaches and athletic directors long since departed, the very fact that Montgomery will require less up front cash cannot be overlooked.

    6. This is a hire that completely can unite the fanbase, because his resume is so clearly superior that no one can argue it. 18 months ago, Mike DeCourcy of the Sporting News wrote an article titled "Montgomery perfect hire for any college: Former Stanford coach has great resume, recruiting record, no baggage." (
    Every Indiana sportswriter, columnist, announcer, fan, and player would just have to nod their head and say "Yes, this was a no brainer."

    7.Likely, Montgomery would bring with him a great name from Indiana Hoosier past glory as a likely heir apparent: Keith Smart. Smart went into coaching after his playing days were over, and was on Montgomery;s staff with the NBA's Golden State Warriors. I hear thru the grapevine that Smart is open to coming back to Bloomington, where he once starred for the Hoosiers, and hit the game winning shot for the 1987 National Champions. Smart's hiring as an assistant/coach in waiting would eliminate going through this task again in 6-10 years, and would prevent opponents from using Montgomery's age against him. (potentially Montgomery's one flaw is that he is 60 years old). However, I must point out that Lute Olsen is still a great coach and recruiter in his 70's at I don't personally see age as an issue here.

    8. Because Montgomery is a new face to the midwest and to the big 10, his style in of itself would give us an advantage for a time, since it is different than most teams in the league currently run. IU would probably be one of the more fluid, eye pleasing, running teams in the conference, which to me is a lot better than watching a bunch of one on one play or a Wisconsin like grind it out game in the 50's. His newness and fresh approach also would help eliminate some of the stink and stench of the last few years, all the way back to the end of the Coach Knight era.

    9. He opens up new areas of the country to recruit from. Particularly, I believe Montgomery will be able to recruit to Indiana great players from the Rocky Mountains to California. This, along with reestablishing the recruiting ties to our own state's high school players, will give us an edge over our competitors. To help with recruiting the state of Indiana, I have it on reasonably good authority that Montgomery would strongly consider hiring a state high school coach who knows the state very well, along with being very open to keeping Coach MacCallum on staff, which I think is the right way to go about it.

    Ok, now I would like some help from you who are reading this. If you agree that I have successfully made my case, tell some of your friends and family about Montgomery too. Let's try and get a groundwell of support going for a low key guy who isn't the "hot" young name going around. Copy this and send it to your local paper or tv station, or copy it and send it to the IU search committee.....who from some of the administrations previous decisions clearly needs our input.

    Regardless of what happens, IU is clearly in a state of turmoil and confusion that will take a remarkable coach with tons of knowledge, contacts, and recruiting skills to overcome, and he will have to do it with high integrity and class. Only one man available has PROVEN for sure he can do it. Let's get Mike Montgomery as our new head basketball coach.

    As always, the above is just my opinion.


  • #2
    Re: Tbird analysis: Making the case for Mike Montgomery for next IU basketball coach

    Montgomery's too old IMO. We need someone for the long haul. He is a good coach, but he has been out of the college game for a while. I'd much rather see Bennett or Miller.


    • #3
      Re: Tbird analysis: Making the case for Mike Montgomery for next IU basketball coach

      Originally posted by Indy View Post
      Montgomery's too old IMO. We need someone for the long haul. He is a good coach, but he has been out of the college game for a while. I'd much rather see Bennett or Miller.
      He has been out of the college game but he hasn't been out of basketball. He coached in the NBA and now he does commentary/analysis for college hoops on Westwood One. He still knows the game. Plus bringing Smart with him would almost be like training his eventual successor. I think it can work and I appreciate tbird's post.

      However, not all IU fans will be as understanding and I've already seen some harsh reactions on other boards to the idea of Montgomery getting the job. But I think that would go away fairly quickly.


      • #4
        Re: Tbird analysis: Making the case for Mike Montgomery for next IU basketball coach

        I can't see Keith Smart coming here if it is just for an assistant position. Head coach? Maybe. But NBA assistants get paid more and he's already been named to don nelson's successor.

        I tend to agree with Indy in wanting a younger coach -- not because it is a 'hot' name but because i tend to think it'd be best to get a guy that could grow with a program. IU is going to take several steps back now and we tried a quick fix guy like kelvin. so maybe now its time to get a younger guy so that in the 6-10 years tbird was talking about we might not have to look for a new coach like we probably would with a 66-70yo Montgomery.

        Also Terry Hutchens (IndyStar Hoosier Reporter) would probably not be a sportswriter that'd say "Yes, this was a no brainer." see #13...

        1. Bruce Pearl -- His name continues to come up and personally I think if Indiana came calling that he'd have to give it some consideration. At Tennessee, he's still at a football school and in many ways plays second fiddle to women's basketball, too. But this one would be a hard sell for me. I just think some of his past problems (especially when he was at Iowa) would make him not a desirable candidate especially when you're trying to get as far away from the troubles you've experienced over the last two seasons as possible. And if you thought Kelvin Sampson was hated at Illinois, watch what would happen when Bruce Pearl set foot in the other Assembly Hall.

        2. John Calipari -- Another guy who may have had a little baggage from UMass but a coach who I would think would be very interested in the IU job. Memphis is one thing but it's still a good school in a bad conference. Could he win a national championship at Memphis? Maybe. But Indiana is still Indiana. Again, the question here becomes whether this is a guy IU would really want to go after considering all of the current circumstances.

        3. Tom Izzo -- I've heard it from enough people now to believe that if Indiana came calling that Izzo would give the Hoosiers a long look. And here's my question: If you could get Izzo right now, wouldn't you do that in a heartbeat? He's a great x's and o's coach, he can recruit and he's a good face for the program. He would bring instant credibility back to Indiana University. My question is when push came to shove, though, could he pull the trigger and go from one Big Ten school to another? I find that hard to believe, but again I'm hearing it from enough people to think that he's interested at some level. And like I said, if Izzo is interested, I'd say go get him.

        4. Sean Miller -- If you want the good, young, up and coming coach, he's the guy. He has Xavier playing at a high level and I've heard nothing but good things about him. Again, if the good, young coach is what you're looking for, I would think Miller would be someone you'd have to take a long look at.

        5. Brad Brownell -- I would say he's the same category, but if I were to choose between the two I would take Miller. Brownell has done good things at Wilmington and now at Wright State but I'd feel more comfortable if he had one more bigger program on his resume.

        6. Steve Alford -- You know his name will come up and he's done a good job at New Mexico this year. I'm sure he'll say all the right things publically, but you have to know that this is a job he still covets and if Indiana came calling I can't imagine Alford looking the other way. Is the right guy for the job? I still think it's hard to say. I think he had a mixed bag at Iowa, and like I said he's done good things at New Mexico. There's no question that if you're looking for someone to re-unify the masses, that Alford would probably be a good choice. What I find interesting is that whenever you bring up his name in a forum such as this one, you have a ton of people saying hire him, and a ton of people saying absolutely not. That's the only thing that worries me a little bit.

        7. Randy Wittman -- If it's an Indiana guy you want, then Wittman would be a good choice but with Wittman you have a coach who has never recruited at the college level. For me, that would be too big of a hurdle to overcome.

        8. Scott Skiles -- Same problem. Good NBA experience, but nothing at this level.

        9. Scott Drew -- I think this is an interesting choice on many levels. He has ties to the state and he's shown he can bring a program back from a negative situation with what he has done at Baylor. If you want a high character guy to lead this program, I think he would be an excellent choice.

        10. Anthony Grant -- Another up and coming guy but in my opinion someone like Sean Miller would still be a better selection.

        11. Dan Dakich -- I like Dan but I'm just not sure he has the resume that Indiana is looking for here. Now, if the Hoosiers make a long run in the NCAA Tournament I think they'll have to give him a long look. What I would like to see is for the guy who gets the job to bring someone like Dakich back and have him on the IU staff. I just think Dakich needs to be involved at some level with the Hoosiers.

        12. Ray McCallum -- If they put Dakich in as the interim coach over McCallum, I can't imagine them hiring Ray as the next permanent head coach. Again, depending on who the next coach turns out to be, McCallum is another guy who would be good to have on your staff. Not to mention the fact that at some point his son will be looking for a college at which to play.

        13. Mike Montgomery -- I don't see it. How old is he? 60. And is he really the guy you want to take this program into the future?

        14. Rick Pitino -- Never say never. He's had Kentucky and Louisville. Why not complete the trifecta with the Hoosiers?

        15. Kevin Stallings -- The thing that is most difficult for me to get past is whether IU would hire a guy who has Purdue ties? They did it with Sharon Versyp and look how well that turned out. I think he's a pretty good coach but I just don't know if he's hireable because of the Purdue thing.

        16. Billy Donovan -- When you see the facilities they have, and you look at the climate you're living in and remember that just last year he turned down an solid NBA offer to say with the Gators, I don't think it would happen. But I think his name is worth throwing out there.

        17. Tom Crean -- Another name that always comes up. I haven't heard it as much this time as I did after Davis resigned. Here's one for you though. If Izzo did come to IU, one would think the dominos would begin falling with Crean heading to Michigan State.

        18. Dane Fife -- No. But someone always seems to bring up his name. Dane needs a couple of more stops before his name is mentioned in IU circles.

        19. Ron Hunter -- No. He's done good things at IUPUI but I don't think you make the jump from the Jags to the Hoosiers.

        20. Thad Matta -- No. I think he's happy where he's at.

        21. Bob Knight -- Let's don't go there. I don't think either party is willing to go down that road just yet.

        22. Pat Knight -- No. Guilt by association, and another guy, like Fife, who I think would need a lot of seasoning before he would be ready to coach the Hoosiers.

        23. Mark Few -- Another guy who was a hot name two years ago but seems to have faded this time around. I just think if he wasn't interested then, he won't be interested now.

        24. Tony Bennett -- I think he's a fine young coach, but I wonder if the problems his sister had when she was the IU women's coach and the way she was let go, would make it difficult for her bro to seriously look at Indiana.

        25. Rick Majerus -- He's done good things at Saint Louis but I doubt if his name will come up in the conversation for the IU job. I've been wrong before but I don't see this one as a strong possibility.

        Last edited by avoidingtheclowns; 03-30-2008, 01:26 AM.
        This is the darkest timeline.


        • #5
          Re: Tbird analysis: Making the case for Mike Montgomery for next IU basketball coach

          Originally posted by Indy View Post
          Montgomery's too old IMO. We need someone for the long haul. He is a good coach, but he has been out of the college game for a while. I'd much rather see Bennett or Miller.

          In a country where a man in his 70's in John McCain may be elected to the Presidency of the United States, I see no reason why a man who is 60 can't be a great basketball coach for Indiana University.

          As for Hutchens, he knows my opinion on this matter already I believe.



          • #6
            Re: Tbird analysis: Making the case for Mike Montgomery for next IU basketball coach

            Because head coach at Indiana University is a much more important job than president of the United States.
            However, with the Presidency you know they will only be there for 4-8 years. Recruits need to know there coach will be there for a long time.

            I just think we need a young guy who will bring new life to the program. I think Bennett or Miller can do that. What does hiring a guy like Montgomery say? To me it says that IU has taken a long, hard fall from grace. We need someone to bring stability and will be here for the long haul. We don't need someone who is going to coach for 4-5 years and then retire. Its just not a rational decision for IU basketball at this point. We need someone who can lead this team for a minimum of 10-15 years.


            • #7
              Re: Tbird analysis: Making the case for Mike Montgomery for next IU basketball coach

              The Hoosier Scoop is reporting Bennett has turned down IU.
              Take me out to the black, tell 'em I ain't coming back. Burn the land and boil the sea, you can't take the sky from me.


              • #8
                Re: Tbird analysis: Making the case for Mike Montgomery for next IU basketball coach

                Originally posted by obnoxiousmodesty View Post
                The Hoosier Scoop is reporting Bennett has turned down IU.
                Just yesterday Bennett denied us ever speaking to him. I'm not believing much of anything I read online right now. I don't think anyone really knows what is going on.


                • #9
                  Re: Tbird analysis: Making the case for Mike Montgomery for next IU basketball coach

                  Originally posted by obnoxiousmodesty View Post
                  The Hoosier Scoop is reporting Bennett has turned down IU.
                  ESPN is reporting it as well.


                  • #10
                    Re: Tbird analysis: Making the case for Mike Montgomery for next IU basketball coach


                    star also reporting the same
                    "Sometimes, when you look Andy in the eyes, you get a feeling somebody else is driving." -- David Letterman


                    • #11
                      Re: Tbird analysis: Making the case for Mike Montgomery for next IU basketball coach

                      I'd also say this...according to Hutch on IndyStar Bennett still claims he was never offered the job, but that he said hes not interested in pursuing it. To me that says that Bennett was told that he is the backup plan to someone else right now.


                      • #12
                        Re: Tbird analysis: Making the case for Mike Montgomery for next IU basketball coach

                        Originally posted by Indy View Post
                        I'd also say this...according to Hutch on IndyStar Bennett still claims he was never offered the job, but that he said hes not interested in pursuing it. To me that says that Bennett was told that he is the backup plan to someone else right now.

                        Of course, it couldn't have anything to do with him having a good team returning next year, or how bad Greenspan jobbed his sister.
                        Come to the Dark Side -- There's cookies!


                        • #13
                          Re: Tbird analysis: Making the case for Mike Montgomery for next IU basketball coach

                          If they would have hired Alford, IU would have been spared all of this drama and would be well on their way to being an elite basketball program once again.


                          • #14
                            Re: Tbird analysis: Making the case for Mike Montgomery for next IU basketball coach

                            Originally posted by Elgin56 View Post
                            If they would have hired Alford, IU would have been spared all of this drama and would be well on their way to being an elite basketball program once again.


                            • #15
                              Re: Tbird analysis: Making the case for Mike Montgomery for next IU basketball coach

                              Originally posted by HeartlandFan View Post

                              Yeah, and where did Davis and Sampson get us? That's right, in the deep do do.